Watermaker, Monitor and Misc Covers

First off, we have a new site: gypsykramer.com.  Same great, scintillating content, now with no more pesky ads.   The old wordpress address will still work, should you choose.

We’ve been working on getting things shipshape, so to speak.  The watermaker is installed and successfully makes water!  We did a test run in the Columbia and it came out clear and clean.  No small task, given how much silt runs down the river.  Here’s what it looks like with everything in place.  We have easy access to the sink for test or sample water and runoff.  Everything is accessible and we still have storage room in the quarterberth.

watermaker test
The final installation for the watermaker utilizing space in the quarterberth.
instrument cover 1
All the wiring for the instruments comes in over the sink in the galley. 
instrument cover 2
The cover for the instrument wiring. The wires in the upper left are for the backup anchor windlass switch. It will have a small Blue Seas panel to its right that will run the engine fan blower, engine room lights and deck light. We had a piece of mirrored plexi left over from the head mirrors, so that got hung on the cover as well.  We will need to round the edges and corners of the box as Nina discovered the cover can be a head hazard when rummaging in the pantry.
engine cover
Also getting covered is the engine. Nina stuffed down the starboard locker screwing in supports for the panels. The more stuff we add the smaller the space gets. Lucky for Bill, he really doesn’t fit in there anymore.  We glued on lead lined foam insulation on the engine side of the panels.  With all the panels in place, the engine noise is significantly dampened.  
monitor 2
Every good backside needs some direction. After rebuilding the Monitor windvane, it still fit on the boat and looks like some beautiful boat bling that will actually work.
monitor 1
Here it is without the model.
monitor steering
Steering lines run from the Monitor to the tiller. When we were in the shop, one of the design features in the new cockpit comings was a set of holes to run the windvane lines through with blocks leading the lines on the outside of the cockpit. There is too much curve on the coming for this to work without serious chafing and the alignment to the tiller was all wrong so Bill added a block on each side to run them through inside the cockpit. To minimize the places to trip over lines, we’ll add another pair behind the openings in the cockpit sides.
New bling on the other end of the boat. It’s a 45-pound Mantus and besides looking serious it fits on the bow roller better than the old Delta.  We do need to come up with a more sophisticated tie down system, but this one will work for now.
dinghy bag
With all the new bling, we needed an accessory bag as well. Custom design for holding dinghy chocks and lines.  The dinghy plug even fits in it.  And then we hide it all away in a locker.

Summertime, And the Reading is Easy

Summer is here and what’s a better way to enjoy your time than to find a shady spot and read a fun book. So I am going to take a break from boat projects to suggest a book. It is Murder at the Marina, by author and sailor Ellen Jacobson. It is her first novel and it is a good one.

We met Ellen through her sister Susan, who also works at the library. Back when we had Gypsy in Tom Becker’s shop, Nina was talking to Susan about our boat project and Susan responded that we were almost as crazy as her sister, who used to live aboard a sailboat in New Zealand. Well, that did not sound crazy at all to us and we started following Ellen’s blog. We got to meet her when she was visiting in Portland. She now lives aboard in Florida.

Ellen’s book Murder at the Marina is set at Palm Tree Marina in Florida. The book starts with Mollie and her husband Scooter having a romantic dinner to celebrate their tenth anniversary. During dinner Scooter announces to Mollie that he is buying her a sailboat. Mollie was expecting serious jewelry and is not thrilled. When Scooter takes her to see the boat the next day she is faced with mildew and peeling paint. She also meets Captain Dan, the fast talking boat broker who is selling them the boat. Dan tells them that they are invited to a BBQ at the marina that evening, so Mollie heads off in search of brownies and a bottle of wine.

The following morning, Mollie and Scooter go to the boat to start cleaning her up, but when they get there they find a dead body in the vee berth. Mollie does not want the boat. The dead body is even less welcome. The problem is she is making friends and enjoying life at the marina, so Mollie decides to find out what is going on at the Palm Tree marina.

Mollie is a cross between Nancy Drew and Miss Marple, and about halfway between their ages too. This cozy mystery will give you a feel for marina life in Florida. You will also learn a bit about boats. A fun summer read.

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Solstice Salutations

We last left you in heavy project mode. We wanted to get Gypsy into usable shape so we could do more than work on her, like actually get her out sailing. Our first goal was to get the cabin looking finished. We had unvarnished trim and lemon yellow paint still showing. The varnishing needed to get done first, so May was varnish month. We varnished and we worked on enclosing the engine space in the cockpit lockers. We got the varnishing done in time to clean the cabin and get Gypsy ready for the Memorial Day cruise. We had a fun weekend not working on the boat. The engine enclosure is still in process. Since the engine was not enclosed we get to invent the whole system. This means you do one bit and then you design the next bit… It may be done before we sail to Mexico.

cabin not painted
The cabin looks pretty good. The vee berth still has the lemon yellow paint.
The ladder is varnished and we have our new Treadmaster steps. You can see that the quarter berth still needs varnish. The ladder has come a long way from its plywood back and solid sides.  It now weighs less, too.

The painting came next. We piled all the cushions up in the main cabin and painted the vee berth and quarter berth.

cushions covered
No ghost, just cushions.



Nina painting
Nina painting.
cabin painted
The green is gone!!!

Bill made new plexiglass sliders for the head and galley cabinets. He almost fainted when he got the bill for the plexi. They do look good!

galley with plexi

head with plexi

mirrors in
We also got plexi mirrors. They will be great.
wind vane rebuild
While we were doing the painting, our dining room table became Monitor central. We rebuilt our wind vane. We replaced all of the plastic bearings and the blocks. While doing this, we discovered that 316 stainless is not that rust resistant. There were some every iffy bolts that have now been pounded out and also replaced. Anyways, the wind vane is ready to mount on Gypsy. The 3M stainless polish works very well at removing rust.
watermaker 1
We also started installing our watermaker. This is the main pump and reverse osmosis membrane unit. It is mounted above the quarter berth. We wanted a location that had good access and this was about the only choice. We chose this unit because it had a bigger output and a lower amp draw per gallon than the  small Katadyn watermakers. We will be able to make 6 gallons per hour for an 8 amp draw.
watermaker 2
The rest of the gear for the watermaker will mount on the board that will hang below the shelf. Getting the layout settled was a big step. Now Bill just needs to mount everything and run the plumbing.

The other project we finally got to was to have Rogers Marine come and troubleshoot our instruments. We were having problems with our radar and GPS. The problem turned out to be a defective Lowrance GPS. If we had been able to deal with this sooner we may have been able to get warranty coverage.  Lesson learned is deal with problems sooner rather than later.

So that is what we have been doing. We are working to get Gypsy ready for her summer cruise to Vancouver Island. We have a month to get her ready.

Ducts in a Row

We went to the Seattle Boat show at the end of January and we made a decision on a watermaker. We decided to get it this year so we could try it out, in salt water, on our summer trip to Vancouver Island. We ordered it and it arrived. It was in a huge box.

What is it
It is huge! Where will it fit?
I don’t think it is returnable, we will figure it out.
It is all packing!
watermaker in box
Our baby.   Six gallons per hour of fresh water.
watermaker space
The bulkhead on the right is where the watermaker will go above the quarter berth. We had to modify the shelf so it would fit. From now on the quarter berth is going to be a cozy corner where special guests get to sleep.

The watermaker was a fun diversion to the real project of putting the galley and head trim in. Being slightly crazy we decided to epoxy the wood to wood joints and use 3M 4000 on the wood to formica joints. This meant we had two different glues and clean ups going at once.

head trim 1
Lower head trim.
head trim 2
Upper head trim. Not only did we have two glues, but we had these tight fitting tenon joints that would have pleased Roy Underhill. It was messy and we tried to protect the paint and formica. We had pre-varnished the wood with three to four coats of varnish so the epoxy and caulk mess would not soak into the grain. The gluing surfaces were taped off so they were not varnished.
galley 1
Again in the galley, improvised clamps and everything is taped off. All the pieces were numbered so we would not forget the sequence of the installation.
galley 2
From a distance it does not look bad. In reality we need to sand all of the joints and re varnish.  And caulk all the surface joints so they have a consistent bead all around.  At 2.5 inches high the fiddles should prove adequate. They are about triple the height of fiddles in production boats and they do give the galley a serious, no nonsense look.   We’ll see how that all works out this summer.  All that dangling wire got neatened up before the furnace ducting went in.
We can finally get our ducts for the forced air furnace in. They will take up a lot of space even once they are tied up in place.

We have also been completing the cabin sole. We got the flooring installed in the head, passageway and vee berth. The trick is getting everything to line up once it is covered in glue and to keep it in place.

head sole
Milk jugs are your friend.
head sole done
Finished vee berth sole. The piss green (Bill’s name for the original yellowish color), will get painted white and the wood trim will get sanded and varnished. Edges and transition joints have been caulked and the floor board fits.
Complete sole.
Cockpit locker floors have also been moving forward. They have been coated in epoxy. We also just added wood cleats to locate the bottom of the sides. The next step is to make the sides and enclose the engine with insulated panels.

Floor Show

The weather has gone both sides of freezing. We have had rain, snow and a glimpse of sun. While this has happened we have been working on the galley, cabin sole and the cockpit locker floor. The wood trim and fiddles for the galley are ready to varnish. We just need to find some space at home to spread the wood out in order to get it all done.

Final fit on the galley wood.

We painted the space behind the galley and in the head to get ready for the installation of the wood.

Nina saws
Nina fitting a floor board. She is getting lots of practice on cutting odd angles.  She’s using a short construction saw – oh when the shark bites… (The saw is called a shark saw and the wood has been dulling it, so it is almost a toothless shark.)  Please send your three pennies to Nina for the Kickstarted sharp saw fund.


floor 2
Passageway and vee berth

All of the floor pieces are still loose. We are waiting until the water warms up so the glue will cure.

The other project we are working on is making floors for the cockpit locker. If you remember the lockers were originally lined in yellow shag carpet. While this did pose an aesthetic challenge, the carpet did help keep you from sliding round. Our nice, carpet- free lockers are now very slippery. The floors will give us a flat surface to store things on. They are also the base for enclosing the engine and its noise. The floors require repeated crawling into the lockers with tape measures and scraps of cardboard. The cardboard pattern gets transferred to plywood and the plywood then gets fitted. The result is a floor.

Cockpit floor
Forward port floor getting made in the galley.
Cockpit floor 2
Forward floor is ready for epoxy coating and paint.



Home and aboat

It has been two months since our last post. We have been busy working on our kitchen. We are still land based and live in a house and that house has been patient, but it did demand some attention right after Thanksgiving. The attention grabber was when the microwave died.  I think it was feeling left out and it wanted some TLC. The kitchen got a makeover and it is happier.

New floor, range, fridge, microwave and paint. Domestic harmony is restored.

We started 2018 off right, we went out on Gypsy. It was a calm day so we  motored.  No rain and not too cold.

The kitchen under control we are back working on Gypsy. stereo

One of our first tasks was to get the stereo reinstalled. It is in the box above the inverter. We had been using speakers that used to be in Bill’s painting studio. They were head coshers, so we got some cute little speakers. The bigger speakers may get worked into the bookshelf when it gets built.

The two projects we are working on are fitting the floor boards in the head, passageway and vee berth, and the face frames and fiddles for the cupboards in the head and galley. Both are fiddly, as each piece has to be trimmed to fit .

Head sole
Trimming.  Sometimes all a girl needs is a good rip saw.  Brazilian cherry is really hard and it may have done in our ancient saber saw.  Thus the hand tool approach.
Face frame fitting.  One thing we discovered – tenons work best when going into open spaces, not spaces they have to be jimmied into.  Part of the fitting process involved converting some of the tenons into half lap joints.  Otherwise installation with epoxy is just not going to happen neatly (or at all).
Fiddle fitting.  After all the rest of the framing fitting, the fiddles are pretty straightforward.

We did take a break to go to the Seattle Boat Show. It gave us a chance to see friends and to do research on boat stuff. We did get to spend some time sightseeing with our friends.

A neat tree in Port Gamble.
Nina in Port Gamble. Port Gamble was a lumber mill town. It was owned by Pope and Talbot.  Yep, that is a silly face.

Floored, or we now have sole…

Over the last two months we have been working on our sole. No, we haven’t gotten religion, that’s soul. I mean the cabin floor.

Our last post had Bill’s fingers in bandages and we had just started on the sole. Bill’s fingers have healed and we are once again charging ahead. Our goal was to get the rest of the main cabin sole done before it got too cold. We had made bundles of floor boards with matching color and grain. This was very helpful as we laid out the sole. We still had to make some substitutions, but the process went pretty smoothly.



Fitting the boards means cutting them to length so they fill the space. The last board gets ripped to width once the rest have been fitted. Nothing is glued down yet. Once the fit is good then we glue. We’re using Gorilla Glue’s construction adhesive which is 100% waterproof.


The excess glue gets wiped up and then we put weights on to hold the planks down. The wood is pretty straight and true, but it does have minor warps and bows. We are using pre-finished 3/8″ thick jotoba, Brazilian Cherry, planks that are 3″ wide. The original plan was to use our thickness planer to remove the glossy finish, but after destroying the blades after a couple of boards we decided that glossy was fine.


We were cutting the planks on the dock, which kept the saw dust out of the cabin. This worked until a neighbor complained that we were getting their boat dusty. The rest of the planks were cut with the saw propped up in the galley and the dust was contained by Gypsy.


The galley sole added a complication. If you look under the drawers the sole angles up to match the curvature of the hull. We had compound angles to cut and also to fit the last plank.


As long as you stay a foot away it looks great.


Repeat on the starboard side. Bill is wiping up glue. The bar clamps are pulling a bow into line.


Looks great, again we had a big angled section at the aft end.



Center boards now have their pull rings and they are in place. The results look pretty darn good.


Final shot with Ikea-stan rugs in place.  The forward floors and the head will have to wait for warmer weather.


The ladder has also been waiting for attention. It was a heavy sold thing and we decided that the basic construction was good, we just wanted it to be lighter. We removed the back and cut holes in it. We also removed the old tread pieces. It has mahogany sides and oak treads. It needs more sanding, but we have gotten the weight down to an acceptable level.


We also made new teak blocks to locate the bottom. The ladder was pinned into place with a large barrel bolt. We had old ladder hardware from a former boat which I used to hold the top. This allowed the top to move away from the galley cabinetry so the varnish and paint won’t get scuffed up. The test fit was a success now the ladder just needs to get refinished.


Other stuff we have been working on: the trim wood for the galley and head cabinets.


Nina made a storage bag for the dinghy’s rudder and daggerboard. She used the old cushion upholstery material. It was in good condition. Who cares if it is a dated color.


Nina has also been making very useful lanyards for the shackle keys and boat knives. The weather is getting cold and we have been forced by events to work on our kitchen. Since this is a boat blog we will spare you the kitchen remodel woes, but as soon as we can we will bring you the galley and head cabinetry. Have a lovely holidays and remember to get your boat a nice gift from Santa.